Saturday, February 20, 2010

Where's My Brandy?

MR. HOWARD: I see a publication in your paper, signed D. Knight & Co., of a most mysterious barrel of brandy, which I feel called on to correct some errors, and say something about seeming inconsistencies. It is true I purchased a barrel of brandy of Squire Joseph John Pippen, who delivered the brandy at the warehouse of D. Knight & Co., in Tarboro' [Edgecombe County, North Carolina]. I paid him the money, and by the consent of Mr. Knight the warehouse door was opened I believe by Mr. Weldon Hunter, and the barrel rolled in the house. I applied to Mr. Knight to gauge the barrel—agreeable to his account it gauged 33 ½ gallons, for which I paid $26 and some cents. I think Mr. Hunter received the brandy in the warehouse himself. When Mr. Knight had gauged the barrel, I requested the barrel should be placed where it would be most out of the way, for I did not know when I would take it away. I did not expect to send for it until I delivered my cotton, not needing the brandy for present use.

The Plot Thickens

And when I was delivering my cotton to Mr. Knight before the warehouse door, that being open, I stepped in to take away my brandy, my wagon being present and [it was] a convenient time to carry it away; but my brandy was not to be seen. I then inquired for my brandy. Mr. Knight appeared astonished—why have you not received it? No, I have never seen it since I left it here. Mr. Knight said, when I went to the north, I left it here & when I returned it was gone. I expected you had got it & I did not inquire about it. Mr. Hunter, says Mr. Knight, is not at home, but he must account for it. Nothing more said at that time.

Stranger Took Brandy!

Next news I heard, Mr. Hunter said a man came in my name, he did not know him, nor ask his name; he, Hunter, rolled out the brandy to the man, and that is all he knew about it. Here lies one of the inconsistencies. Mr. Hunter being fully acquainted with all the circumstances about the brandy being in the warehouse, and Mr. Knight should be so particular as to tell Mr. Hunter I had a barrel of brand in the warehouse and the particular room, when he Hunter was well acquainted with the circumstance.

Another strange circumstance: Mr. Knight says a man came in the store and interrogated him Hunter thus: Haint Squire Baker got a barrel of brandy here? Yes. He has sent me for it and told me to tell Mr. Knight to send it to him. Mr. Hunter being busy at the time he took the keys, delivered the brandy to a man he did not know, nor where he came from nor where he went. Is it not strange he should be busy trading? Mr. Knight does not say trading, but one of his friends says he told him he was trading; I say is it not strange that Mr. Hunter was trading, busy trading, as his friend says, and nobody heard the interrogatories in the store but himself? Mr. Knight … is so straight he seems to lean over. He says the barrel of brandy was to be taken away in a few days, and it had lain in silent repose for more than three months.

That is agreed, I did not send in that time, but it was understood the brandy was to be put where it would be most out of the way not knowing when it would be sent for. He would further make you believe I went in an abrupt manner—O where is my barrel of brandy? If this is not leaning or putting unfair coloring on the business, I do not understand what is unfair. As I have stated, I was delivering my cotton before the warehouse door, that being open. I sent in for the purpose of taking it the brandy away—it was gone. All this took place before I made any inquiry. When I made the inquiry, I merely asked where it was, expecting it had been removed to some other room. No warm feeling, but all friendly.

Mr. Knight agreed they would pay for the brandy, but afterwards refused, believing they were not bound. Next news I heard from Mr. Hunter, he was inquiring to find out if I had not received my brandy previous to my applying for it myself. If Mr. Hunter believes I could be guilty of such an act, he should push the inquiry; and to aid him, I will pay twenty-five dollars, besides giving up the brandy, if they bring out the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth respecting the barrel of brandy, who got it, and how.


March 4, 1840

[This article appeared in the Tarboro' Press, March 8, 1840. It was also printed in The Connector, newsletter of Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Fall 2001 issue.]

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